My Life In Travel: Hermione Norris
'We all get trapped in our everyday life and it's refreshing to escape from it'
Saturday 19 January 2008
First holiday memory?
I didn't go abroad until I was 17 so my childhood holidays were in Cornwall, Devon and Wales. My memories are of chucking a wire over a jetty to catch mackerel.
The Seychelles and India. The Seychelles were amazingly luxurious and beautiful but the Andaman and Nicobar Islands off India just blew me away.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
Dorset. The stretch from Golden Cap near Seatown all the way down to Lyme Regis is just stunning: golden light and undulating coastline with the sea as a backdrop.
What have you learnt from your travels?
I've learnt a huge amount from proper travel – spending time in a place and experiencing the culture and people rather than just being there. It's the best education known to man. We all get trapped in our everyday life and it's quite refreshing to escape from it and step into something different for a while.
Ideal travelling companion?
My husband. We don't get the opportunity to travel together that much, but we are going off to Argentina for a month soon with our three-month-old and three-year-old. I really wanted to go back to India, but that'll have to wait until our youngest is a bit older.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I used to be a beach bum and then became an adrenalin junkie, but these days I'm a bit of all three.
Greatest travel luxury?
A really good book. I love getting lost in a novel.
I recently really enjoyed The Ghost by Robert Harris – I couldn't put it down. I liked the writer's voice in it. I also loved Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. If a book doesn't get me by page three I don't persevere with it.
Where has seduced you?
India. I was there for a month – I rarely get to be away for that long. I visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Varanasi, and Darjeeling. I can't wait to go back there.
Better to travel or arrive?
It depends where I am. If it's somewhere that's culturally diverse, then the travel is often as good as the arrival because you're taking things in. If you're driving on the A303 then it's a different story.
Worst travel experience?
Being delayed at airports, but who hasn't? I've been bumped off flights and once, on a flight from Manchester to London we were about to land and had to take off again.
The Maldives, because it rained the whole time I was there and in a place like that there isn't a lot else to do other than sunbathing and swimming. It wasn't the best situation to be in with a partner you're about to break up with, either!
I've lived in quite a few hotels through work – good ones are hard to find. One chain hotel in Manchester was fairly daggy – room service meals of soggy chips and mayonnaise that looked like it might have been mixed with something else, the incessant hum of the air-con...
North Island, a private island in the Seychelles, was amazing. There are 11 villas built from carved wood into the coastline with open sides; everything was really beautifully done. Someone comes to your villa every day to cook your breakfast for you. I've never had an experience like that, it was really special.
Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?
My favourite walk is along the Dorset coastline from Golden Cap to Lyme Regis. I also did a fantastic road trip up Highway 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco and to places like Death Valley and Yosemite. We listened to a lot of good tunes and chatted.
Best meal abroad?
I really love going to La Colombe d'Or in Saint-Paul de Vence, Provence. There are amazing views and random pictures by Picasso and Matisse, which were left as gifts by the painters.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I look out of the window.
I'd love to go to Africa because I have only ever been to the north and I really want to go on a safari.
I was born in London and I live there and I absolutely adore it.
Argentina. We're going to spend some time in Buenos Aires, eat steak, do a bit of tango, see Iguaçu Falls, stay on a ranch to see condors and go riding on the pampas.
Hermione Norris stars in 'Kingdom', Sundays at 9.20pm on ITV1
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